The Cincinnati Reds selected Alexis Diaz in the 12th round of the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft. He pitched well in limited action that year. He would miss all of the 2016 year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. In 2017 he returned to pitch for the Arizona League Reds – splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen. He missed a lot of bats, but had a slightly high walk rate and an ERA of 4.94 in 31.0 innings.
When the 2018 season began the Reds sent Alexis Diaz to their new affiliate in Greeneville, Tennessee. He made two appearances in June thanks to the start of the season not beginning until the 19th. On the 21st he ran into some problem in relief against Bristol, allowing four earned in 3.0 innings with a walk and seven strikeouts. A week later he returned to the mound and tossed 4.0 shutout innings of relief with no walks and with six strikeouts.
July got underway for Alexis Diaz on the 7th as he entered the rotation. Things got out to a quick start for the right-hander. He allowed one run in 6.0 innings with nine strikeouts against Burlington. Five days later he took the mound again and allowed one earned over 5.0 innings with seven more strikeouts and three walks. A week later he took the mound on the road for the third consecutive start. It was also the third start in a row with one earned run, this time over 4.0 innings with a walk and four strikeouts. The next time out for the then 21-year-old was in the second game of a double header, and Princeton touched Diaz up for five earned runs in 4.0 innings. He finished the month with a 3.79 ERA over 19.0 innings in four starts. That came along with seven walks and 25 strikeouts.
After a tough start to end July, Alexis Diaz put it behind him in the first August start. He was charged with an unearned run in 6.2 innings with five strikeouts. The next time around he allowed two earned against Bluefield in 4.0 innings with three walks and six strikeouts. On the 13th, the Puerto Rico native made his first home start of the year. He gave up two earned runs against Elizabethton, striking out six. Diaz made his next start at home against Kingsport. He allowed two earned runs once again, this time over 5.0 innings. In his final start of the year he hit the road to take on Johnson City where he threw 6.0 shutout innings with four walks and five strikeouts. Over five starts in August he posted a 1.95 ERA in 27.2 innings with 10 walks and 29 strikeouts.
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Alexis Diaz Scouting Report
Fastball | His fastball will work in the low-to-mid 90’s and has some life to it.
Slider | It’s an above-average pitch that he goes to often to put hitters away.
Change Up | This isn’t a pitch he goes to often and is a clear third offering.
From a numbers standpoint, Alexis Diaz stood out among the rookie-league pitchers in the Reds system in 2018. He had a good walk rate, missed a ton of bats, kept the ball in the park, and had a low ERA. But it wasn’t just the numbers that stood out. Alexis Diaz showed off two above-average pitches, too. His fastball has plenty of life to it, and has solid velocity, too. His best pitch, though, is the breaking ball. It’s a put away pitch that projects well.
If there is a concern to look towards with Alexis Diaz it’s that his mechanics may ultimately push him towards a relief role. After beginning the year in a bit of a hybrid-starter role before moving into the rotation, then his success as a starter, he’ll likely remain in the rotation until there’s a reason to push him to the bullpen.
Interesting Stat on Alexis Diaz
He dominated right handed hitters, holding them to a .599 OPS. That came with just four walks and 40 strikeouts in 134 plate appearances.